I wouldn’t necessarily say my son is a reluctant reader, but I would say that I have this fear that he will be. On the other hand, I also don’t want to be that parent that pushes reading so much that I’m the one that makes him not enjoy it. There’s a fine tightrope that I’m carefully teetering on here.
So, as a result, you know how as a parent you do things with an ultimate goal in mind, but you don’t express that goal out loud for fear that your child will ruin your plans for no reason other than to turn your hair gray? That’s my relationship with my son and reading.
As I’ve said before, I tend to pick most of his books from the library for him, just to make the trip a little smoother. On our last trip I picked out one of those easy reader books, this one titled, Trains. Since he didn’t pick it out and I didn’t even bother showing it to him before we left the library for his approval, he hadn’t been paying much attention to it. In fact, I don’t think he’d even opened the book in the week since we got it.
Well, one day this weekend he was spending some quality time in the bathroom, so I decided to hand him that book to help make time pass. As he grabs the book his response was,
“MOM, I don’t even know why you got me this book. I’ve read a book on trains already, remember? I had the CD and the book!”
“Yes, but this book may be different than that one, it may have different stuff in it.”
“No, that book had everything about trains in it, it told me everything.”
“Just read the book boy”, as I walk away exasperated from this conversation. This is what I mean when I say that he just wants to do the opposite just to try to make me crazy, there’s no other reason.
Anyway, moments later when I walk by, I see him actually reading the words on the page. He’s 5, so he’s not a real confident reader, but he’s sounding out words and is doing a good job. He gets to the second sentence on this page…”The cars on a p…pass…passenger”
Wait what?! Did he just read the word passenger?! Yes! One point for mama! We did a high-five, I gave him his kudos for reading such a hard word, and he moved on to the rest of the page.
Now what I didn’t say to him, but really wanted to was, “You know why you were able to read the word passengers? Because you’ve already read/listened to a book about trains, and your mama was smart enough to get you another one, so you had the vocabulary ready and you used context clues to help you figure out the word. So there.”
At any rate, the takeaway from this incident is this: to support your efforts in #raisingreaders, I’m actually advocating being the sneaky, yet deliberate parent. You don’t want to end up being that adult that makes that child despise reading, but you don’t want to let opportunities pass either. Search for a balance on that tightrope. Also, if there’s a subject or topic they’re into, get them an informational book on it…and then get them another one. Despite what they may tell you, despite their resistance, they’ll get something different out of the each book, and it’ll make them smarter in the process.